In the old style of meditation the teacher says: “This is what we believe. If you think carefully about these matters you will come to believe as we do. This is our sacred book, and most important commentaries on truth and liberation. Read these books carefully and you too will come to understand that our sacred books are true.”
In the new style of meditation the teacher begins by asking questions: “What do you believe?” Are there any beliefs about whether God exists or not that you are completely sure are true? If so what are those beliefs? How do you know they are true?”
“If there are no beliefs that you are sure are true, are there any spiritual, philosophical, or ethical beliefs you feel may be true, which you are willing to explore further? If so what beliefs about spirituality, atheism, or ethics are you willing to explore more carefully to see if they are true for you?
In the new style of meditation the teacher is seeking to help the student find out what is their vision of life, truth, love, and ethics by asking some very basic questions:
1) “Do you believe God exists, or do you believe there is no God, or are you really not sure one way or the other?
2) “In such matters what are your most important doubts and unanswered questions?”
3) “What is the center of your moral compass?”
4) “What changes do you wish to make in your life?”
5) “From where can you find the inner strength needed to make the changes in your life that you have been unable to make so far?
Depending how the student answers these question, will determine what manner of meditation practice is best suited for them. For meditation can be of great benefit to those who believe in God, those who do not, and those who are not sure what to believe.
It needs to be added that for this approach to meditation to work, the student must freely choose to embrace high standards of sincerity, honesty, open-mindedness, and personal integrity in their search and in their dealings with all other people. Assuming a person freely embraces these high standards and demonstrates an ongoing commitment to them, they are a good candidate for meditation practice. If a person has no interest in such a commitment then there probably is no need for them to spend much time thinking about meditation one way or the other.
The teacher’s responsibility is to have a wide range of knowledge of many different meditation practices and beliefs so they can help the student find the style and resources that work best for them.